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Toyota Echo



  • bryanwbryanw Posts: 12
    I just picked up my new Echo sedan last Friday as well. First new car for my wife and I in 14 years. We took 3 months to pick out what we wanted. Started out looking at minivans-blechhh-then got the idea that a compact sedan would be a good choice having suffered through several gas guzzlers. The Toyota dealer was low pressure and more than willing to accomodate requests for extended test drives.
    The high quality construction, reliability ratings and low operating cost of these cars is what won me over.
    The new Echo has been dropped right into the middle of the Canadian snow belt with Michelin MX4 14" tires. Last night we got 10 inches of wet snow and the Echo was able to navigate through it no problem. BryanW
  • sluglineslugline Posts: 391
    Has anyone experimented with plus-sizing the tires on their ECHO? Maybe 185/60-14 instead of 175/65-14? That might open up the number of choices dramatically.

    bryanw: That's interesting that you started looking at minivans and ended up with an ECHO. It sounds like going down to the pet store to buy a dog and coming home with a parakeet. :) Although I still think an ECHO wagon might make an interesting stuff hauler ... but I guess that would cut into the Scion line too much.
  • bryanwbryanw Posts: 12
    I know it sounds strange bringing home an Echo when we started out looking for a minivan. The logic goes like this. First look was at a Dodge Caravan but the poor quality, dismal reliability, and lousy gas mileage scared me away. Same for Chevy Venture and Ford Freestar. Who does make a good minivan? Toyota and Honda do but too pricey. Then on the Toyota salesman's recommendation we packed our 3 kids into the Echo sedan and it made sense. It was roomy enough inside for the short city runs we do and met or exceeded all expectations for reliability and gas mileage.
    In the lunchroom at the office all I hear is complaints about blown engines and trannys and high fuel consumption in co-workers late model domestic SUV's and minivans. I think the big three automakers should be ashamed of themselves for what they build. Then again in the words of one buddy who works on the paint line in the Chrysler minivan plant "what do you expect when everyone is stoned on acid". The drug use and alcoholism is rampant in the big three's plants and it shows in the final product.
  • tsnooktsnook Posts: 18
    I purchased a 2001 Echo with 120,000 miles on it about a month ago, and after taking it to the shop today for its 120,000 mile maintenance, I was told that it has a bad transmission and should be replaced. The transmission makes a sort of grinding noise in 3-4-5 gears and is only present both when you have the clutch out and are giving it gas, and when you arn't giving it any gas (with the clutch out.) If you have the clutch out and you arn't giving it any gas, then it sort of makes an intermittant grinding noise that sounds like something is engaging and disengaging very quickly - the same grinding noise that the car makes in gear when you are giving the car gas. The technician (who I am told by everyone is very good) has decided by the noise that the transmission is bad and must be replaced. I don't really know if I want to bust out the $1500 dollars when the car drives perfectly fine and the only problem is a grinding noise that has been there for several months and hasn't gotten worse. Has anybody else come across this problem? Also - there doesn't seem to be very many 5-speed transmissions laying around for the buying, so if you know of any that I can get a reasonable deal on, I would be glad to hear it.
  • bryanwbryanw Posts: 12
    I had a Honda Civic that sounds like the same situation. Before rebuilding the tranny change the gearoil and add a bottle of conditioner. Worked for 2 years on my old Honda and it had over 200,000 k's on it. It will cost you under $100-. Best wishes, BryanW
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,685
    Heres what you do. Get the car up on ramps and drain the transmission oil. There two 15/16 inch bolts one a drain (on the bottom of the trans)the other a fill(on the FRONT of the trans). You have to remove some plastic shields at the front of the car to get the fill bolt out but theyre easy to do. Drive the car for an hour beforehand to warm the oil up. Drain the oil for an hour into a CLEAN pan, put the drain bolt back in and take the pan out from under the car into a good light. Look at the oil. If the trans is lunched there will be a metalic sheen to it. There could even be bits of metal in there. Maybe even chunks. Maybe even NO oil! Go to the store and gete three quarts of manual transmission oil and a tube of Molybdenum Disulfide grease. It comes in a squeeze tube. Pour one of the quarts of oil into a clean pan on the stove under low heat. Dissolve the Moly D into it. Pour it back into the bottle it came out of and squeeze it into the trans fill plug hole. It take two quarts to fill the trans, but you cant get all of a quart bottle into the trans because the bottle is level when you squeeze it out. Hence the need for three quart bottles. But get ALL the quart of Molly D oil into the trans. Put the fill plug back in and take it for a drive and see how it sounds NOW. If you got a lot of metal in the oil you might want to consider getting the trans rebuilt or a junkyard one put in. Depends how much you like the car. Maybe an oil change will help and thats all you need to do. Tell us what happens!!!
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,685
    Incidently, the things that indicate a bad manual trans are popping out of gear or refusal to go into gear (which could also be the clutch) As long as it shifts up and down you can use it. It might run a LONG time like that. Usually it will pop out of/not go into first and reverse before the other gears are affected. Even if you dont have 1st and reverse you can still start in second and just park so you dont have to back up.
  • tsnooktsnook Posts: 18
    The echo oftentimes will not go into 1st gear unless I am going 5 MPH or less. I will try to get into 1st, even with the clutch all the way in, and the it is extremely difficult. The car will go into 1st gear effortlessly if I am stopped or going 1-2 MPH, but any faster and it requires a lot of force - if it will go in at all. I don't know if all manuals are like this, but I thought I would mention it.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,667
    "The echo oftentimes will not go into 1st gear unless I am going 5 MPH or less" This is normal. You should NOT put it into first unless you are under 5 mph. This applies to all manuals.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,685
    That sounds Ok to me. Yeah I would DEFINATELY check the oil level in the trns...there might not be enough or even any. A change with the molly in it should also help. Good luck and tell us what happens!
  • tsnooktsnook Posts: 18
    The transmission oil should be fine. The mechanic that told I have a bad transmission replaced the transmission oil and said that although dirty, he didn't really find any metal in it. He believed that is was a bad bearing in the transmission that was making the grinding noise. He also added that when the transmission did finally go out, that it could lock up and cause my wheels to stop turning putting me into a skid. (wherever that may be)
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,685
    >could cause my wheels to stop turning<

    Never heard of it. I think the guy is trying to scare you into letting him do the work. I would be looking for a junkyard trans which ought to work great considering how old they are. Maybe he is on the level but I doubt it. Youre call but Id let it run.
  • ldlopezldlopez Posts: 13
    I'm thinking of getting a used Echo and I was wondering what would be the best way to proceed. What years might be best, what MPG I might get.
    Where I am I'll need 4x4 in Winter 80 % of the time and the Echo would be used at all other times. I want manual transmission and air. I'd love the Canadian hatchback if I could get it.

    Are there any real deals on them ?

    The local car dealer in NH autofair Toyota doesn't even sell them any more. There are about 8 of them (or so on EBAY), and a ton on

    Any comments observations, ...

    I'm driving 106 miles per day, 20 miles at 40 MPH, 33 miles at 60 to 80 MPH.

    I like the 15" tires, remembering the tiny tires on the '87 toyota corolla fx that were always getting dinged.

    By the way, I have a 1200' drive which is why I need 4x4 in winter. Not withstanding that, I learned "how to drive in snow" with the '87 Corolla but I also learned how to walk up 1200' on ice.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,685
    The year doesnt matter they are all the same. There are no problems with the ECHO no matter what the year. I get 40 mpg from my ECHO which is used only to go to work about 6 miles away and for running errands. I DONT recommend you change the tires to 15 inch the ones already on the car work fine. See post 4528 for a url to an EXCELLENT article on the ECHO in Popular Mechanics. It also has an extensive owners survey which is HIGHLY favorable. You can also read the comments here and you will find almost NO ONE who has anything bad to say about the ECHO, except for EDMUNDS themselves. But they are hopelessly infatuated with BMWs, Lexus etc. Apparently they have self esteem problems and driving an fancy car helps them cope.
    Cant advise on the best place to buy one. There are a lot of them going for $$$$less than they are worth but you might have to travel to get one of thiose. Worth it in my opinion. Good luck and tell us what happens!
  • ldlopezldlopez Posts: 13
    thanks for the article number.
    It may take some time for all this to happen.
  • ldlopezldlopez Posts: 13
    Could you elaborate on that amazing feat ?
    Was it all on the level or any hills ?
    Was it going through 10" of new snow with no existing ruts ?

    I'm asking because I have 1200' of all up hill driveway to go up and what you are saying is pretty encouraging.
  • bryanwbryanw Posts: 12
    This past week I've been through one snowstorm and one freezing rain storm. The Echo did much better than I expected of a small, light, FWD vehicle. I'm comparing to the Honda Civic I had a few years ago which got stuck in 3 inches of snow on a level grade with it's puny 13" tires.
    The Echo has more ground clearance and the Michelin MX4 all seasons are grippy enough for city driving in the Canadian winter. I drove through the mess left by the snowplow at the end of my driveway which was at least a foot of wet muck no problem. I drove through ruts and stopped at several intersections on an uphill grade where I would have been left stuck my old Civic with less ground clearance.
    I feel the car is safe and stable enough with the stock all seasons to drive through the miserable winters we get up here in Ontario.
  • bryanwbryanw Posts: 12
    I'm curious if anyone else with an automatic Echo driven in winter finds the shifts sluggish for the first few miles. I notice on these cold mornings that the shift is slow upwards throught the gears and seems to hang especially from 2nd to 3rd. A few blocks down the road no problem.
  • reba05reba05 Posts: 36
    Read the "Problems and Solutions" forum on this site - that may help to narrow down what years have issues. I bought a 2003 because I thought I saw something negative about the 2001-2002 models, I apologize but I cannot recall what exactly it was....I'll respond if I can find it.
    Plus I like the restyled model which was done as of '03 - looks less "unique."
  • reba05reba05 Posts: 36
    Yes! I have this all the time! I try to heat my car up as much as possible, however, I never have the time. I notice it mainly when getting on the freeway after work and then once I get going it seems fine. Is it bad on the engine to drive it when it in this condition??
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